It's fairly common to find people, even team leaders, confusing the definition of a team.
A group is a set of people with individual objectives who happen to share the same boss, or the same workplace, or be part of the same organisational unit. In a group, individuals might even have the same objectives - e.g.: in a sales force, everyone might have the same sales target to meet, but they may also compete against each other rather than cooperate.
A team is a group that works together toward a single, common objective. In fact, they might have different individual objectives, but those objectives
contribute to the higher collective one. E.g. in a sales team, one person might make appointments, another provide technical sales support, another prepare a bid document, and another make the sale.
But they are all accountable together for the sales and are not judged solely on individual objectives.
Many great team leaders understand the power of thinking through team interactions beforehand and maximizing them to increase productivity. Extending this concept to team building means thinking through the positive possibilities of every team member, the collaborative outcomes of the team and the best possible results, then establishing a map leading to that destination. Beyond that, intentional team builders represent the journey to excellence at every turn, constantly re-casting the vision with positive expectation that people who understand the destination will certainly want to go there.
The need is obvious to go beyond the latest version of the "offsite" for developing teamwork. Everyone’s been through the “trust-fall” exercise, and we’ve probably all had enough of choosing cards with pictures on them and assigning meanings that help us express how we’re feeling about our team’s relationships and performance.
Banyan's Intentional Methodology
Assessing team dynamics:
More art than science, this consultative activity involves observing the team in the act of doing something, such as an interview process, planning an
educational activity, resolving a disciplinary issue, or some other work-oriented task in which the team must interact and come to a decision. Several questions are addressed in this
observation time, including.
From this simple exercise the consultant will make an initial assessment to give functional, working answers to the following elements of team dynamics:
Following on from this beginning, the consultant works with the organizational leader to accomplish 4 very intentional and logical goals:
7 Reasons Team Building Offsites Fail:
As in the age-old metaphor that says a house must be built on rock, the bedrock foundation of all team building, whether in business, sports or whatever, is commitment to a common, shared goal. The difference is plain to see. When a group of people lacks this foundation, the leader must work to build it. There is no other method, no great plan and no amount of charisma or leadership that will stand in for it. When a group possesses this most important asset, a common, shared goa, the leader's job is easy, and any one of hundreds of different leadership styles and programs will work to bring the team to a sharper focus and greater productivity. A common goal, without which, a team is just a group, is the foundation that must be sought first, above all else.
The choice of intervention strategy depends not only on the current state of teamwork, but on the nature of the people. For highly motivated individuals who already share even just the beginnings of a common goal, it can be enough to set a high level direction and then allow individuals to contribute to its detailed development. For others, whose natural motivations are more individual, there may need to be objective incentives that require teamwork.
In some instances, where high levels of teamwork,(cf., Tuckman's stages of team development) cannot be achieved, they may only be effective in the Forming stage, which is highly dependent on leadership.
Interventions, when they appropriate, fall into four main areas:
1. Individual - Development of individual skills; establishing familiarity with shared processes
2. Relational - Improvement of unconscious dynamics; engendering a sense of common purpose and commitment
3. In/Out Groups - Tackling the barriers between ethnic and social formations or competitive groups within the team.
4. Culture - Building a teamwork ethos in larger organizations.
If team building is viewed as a commodity, as a product to be purchased from a supplier, then it is unlikely to have any lasting value. Having an away day, playing games or doing fun things will generally lead to lasting and improved collective performance only in the context of a good plan, where events are designed to meet specific objectives and outcomes. In fact, having an away day without good design is taking a gamble - it may be a diversion, a waste of time, or even damage the ongoing development of real teamwork.
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Positive Change: Sometimes those words seem like two opposites, strangely connected in a random phrase. For many people, change is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of positive things. For many people, families and organizations change is not positive, because it brings discomfort, discord, dysfunction and division. We know it doesn’t have to be that way. And we instinctively believe there must be a way to manage change that brings us to a place of agreement, comfort and unity. But finding that way can be a daunting task.
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